Monday, 15 December 2008

Back to Business Development

My first appointment, back at work, was with Richard Carde, who has been appointed as the Programme Manager for the Newham Telecoms Convergence Program. The network extension to Building 1000 is almost complete, and remaining fibre roll-out ought to be reasonably straight-forward, but in parallel with that we need to commence procurement of the special purpose vehicle to further develop and operate the infrastructure and services. The WiMax pilot with Intel to inform overall wireless requirements for the programme should also be established without further delay. I’ll also need to help Richard to link-into the extensive network of stakeholders that has been created through the development of this programme.

The first formal Socitm Commercial Board met at Camden Town Hall. Several directors were not able to make the meeting but David Bryant, who was voted the Chair, Steve Jones, David Houston, Adrian and I had a productive meeting in which we developed the basic terms of reference and scope, and discussed priorities. Key decisions concerned how to define a “commercial” service versus a member benefit, and establishing a “Chinese Wall” between the divisions. Essentially, any service that is not part of the basic membership provision and/ or is designed to generate profits will be a commercial service, and therefore come under the remit of the commercial board. (A reminder that all profits are generated to fund existing member services and finance further developments.) The exceptions will be provision of meeting venues for routine and ad-hoc meetings, which will be treated as an administrative function.

Among the initial tasks is to develop a pro-forma for the business case to accompany any new service development proposals. We will also be gathering-in and reviewing all existing Terms of Reference for existing commercial activities, and considering our approach to the auditing of services’ efficiencies. We discussed our planned approach to investment, and shared risk and reward, and a number of potential new service developments, but agreed our first concern must be to ensure that the governance structure is fully developed and understood. An exception is the development of Business Partnerships, which some private sector members are rightly pushing us to get going.

The Member Benefits Board met while I was on holiday. I’ll aim to include a report-back from that in my New Year President’s Report.

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